Tipu Sultan’s bedchamber sword sold for 14 million pounds at a London auction on 23 May. This, according to a press release by the auction house Bonhams, is a new auction world record for an Indian and Islamic object.
“The sword has an extraordinary history, an astonishing provenance and unrivalled craftsmanship. It was no surprise it was so hotly contested between two phone bidders and a bidder in the room. We are delighted with the result,” said Nima Sagharchi, Group Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams, The Wire reported.
This sword was one of the weapons removed by British troops from Tipu Sultan’s palace in Seringapatam on May 4, 1799, the press release says, after his defeat. The ‘bedchamber sword’ was found in his private quarters. The blade is inscribed with the words ‘The Sword of the Ruler’.
“This spectacular sword is the greatest of all the weapons linked to Tipu Sultan still in private hands. Its close personal association with the Sultan, its impeccable provenance traceable to the very day it was captured, and the outstanding craftsmanship that went into its manufacture make it unique and highly desirable,” Oliver White, Bonhams Head of Islamic and Indian Art, had said before the auction.
The British presented the sword as a trophy to Major General David Baird “as a token of their high esteem of his courage and conduct in the assault which he commanded and in which Tipu Sultan was slain”, an inscription added to the sword’s steel blade states.
Bonhams would not reveal any details of the buyer, The Art Newspaper reported.